Nov 17, 2023 - Things to Do

The 8 best holiday light displays in Columbus this year

Fireworks launch into the sky on both sides of a giant illuminated Christmas tree at Easton

Easton's Grand Illumination is one of the first holiday celebrations to usher in the season each year. Photo: Steve Brady/courtesy of Easton Town Center

Believe it or not, it's time for Columbus to transform into a winter wonderland once again.

Illuminating the news: To kick off the holiday season, we've compiled a list of eight must-see holiday light displays in Central Ohio.

ğŸŽŸï¸ Pro tip: Experience Columbus is offering a Holiday Lights pass for a second year, which includes admission to two events — Conservatory Aglow and Wildlights — and coupons for select Easton stores and restaurants.

  • $36 for kids and $47 for adults.

The latest: New this year is "Season of Celebrations" at COSI, featuring a 40-foot tree and a twinkling forest of 50 smaller trees decorated by community groups.

What's happening:

🛍️ Holiday Happenings at Easton

Illuminate your holiday shopping with a nightly light show across a 56-foot tree. Enjoy a carriage ride ($10), admire model trains and take a photo with Santa.

  • Grand Illumination is 6-9pm Nov. 17. Free!
An aerial view of the illuminated Columbus Commons
An aerial view of the Columbus Commons. Photo: Courtesy of Infinite Impact

ğŸŽ  Columbus Commons

Take a walk in a picturesque park decorated for the season in the heart of downtown.

  • 5-11pm daily, through Jan. 1. Free!
  • 160 S. High St.
  • Pro tip: Starting Dec. 1, free hot chocolate and carousel rides on Fridays!
Guests stand in front of the frozen Conservation Lake covered in illuminated trees at the Columbus Zoo
Guests surround Conservation Lake to see the centerpiece show of Wildlights that's synced to music. Photo: Grahm S. Jones/courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

🦌 Wildlights

Visit Santa's reindeer and other cold-loving animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

  • 5-9pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-10pm Friday-Saturday. Through Jan. 7.
  • $26-30. ($17-20 for Franklin County residents.) Kids under 3 free!
A family walks through a tunnel of lights
A family strolls through a tunnel of lights. Photo: Courtesy of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Experience Columbus

ğŸŽ„ Conservatory Aglow

Stroll through glistening outdoor gardens and then admire hundreds of poinsettias and other holiday blooms inside the spruced up Conservatory.

  • 5-9pm daily, through Jan. 7.
  • Open till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays in December.
  • $15.50-26. Kids under 3 free!

🤶 Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights

A drive-thru tradition at the Alum Creek State Park Campground.

  • 5:30-9pm Sunday-Thursday ($22 per car). 5:30-10pm Friday-Saturday ($33). Through Jan. 1.
  • 3311 S. Old State Road, Delaware.
  • Pro tip: Mrs. Claus collects letters for Santa. Include an email address.
A car drives through a light tunnels during WonderLights
A car drives through one of several light tunnels, a popular photo opp. Photo: Courtesy of WonderLights

🚙 WonderLights

Another drive-thru show just a short trip northeast of Columbus, with more than 1 million lights synced to your car stereo.

  • 5:30-10pm daily, through Jan. 1.
  • 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Hartford.
  • $30 per car.
An aerial view of the illuminated Scioto Mile on the downtown riverfront
Our iconic downtown riverfront all decked out. Photo: Randall L. Schieber/courtesy of Experience Columbus

🌉 Scioto Mile

Explore a festive riverfront filled with holiday lights.

  • Dusk till dawn, Nov. 23 through Jan. 2. Free!
  • We recommend starting at Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Drive.
  • Pro tip: Mark your calendar for WinterFest, 11am-4pm Dec. 2.

🌟 Season of Celebrations at COSI

New for 2023! Wander through a twinkling forest and participate in hands-on holiday-themed educational programs.

  • 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 24 through Jan. 7.
  • Included with museum admission ($23-30). Kids under 2 free!
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